Today was chosen as the day to toast the passing of Michael Jackson. The chosen time was 9pm EST but as that's the middle of the night here in England, I chose 9pm BST.
Due to family commitments (my wife is due our second child in four days), I chose to stay at home to toast him. It was a difficult decision which beer to chose. Clearly I don't have unlimited supplies of beer or even access to most beers, so my choice was limited. I could have chosen a Yorkshire brew in deference to where Michael was born, or I could have chosen a beer from Lithuania in memory of his roots. Instead I chose a style of beer he championed, from a country not renowned for its beer.
I think it's partly down to Michael Jackson that India Pale Ales are so popular with beer geeks now. This style, originally created by British brewers in the 1700s was written about by MJ in his pocket book of 1997 thus: "the hoppiest examples of the style are made by the new generation of American brewers". And it is Michael who played a huge part in the American microbrewery revolution. And out of this revolution, interest grew in other countries.
So for my toast I chose to drink Emersons 1812 India Pale Ale, an IPA from New Zealand. It is very American in style. A wonderful aroma of piney hops and an excellent bitterness to the taste with notes of lychee.
I am sure Michael would have been flattered by today's events and would have loved hearing about all the different beers chosen to mark the event. I don't know if he ever drank Emersons 1812 IPA - he probably did - I'm sure he would have liked it.
Here's to Michael Jackson, and a big thanks for all you did for beer.